Alliance for Water Efficiency

(SANTA FE, N.M.) — NEWS: Today the Alliance for Water Efficiency (AWE) released the 2022 U.S. State Policy Scorecard for Water Efficiency and Sustainability (Scorecard), which ranked each U.S. state based on its adoption of laws and policies that advance water efficiency, conservation, sustainability, and affordability. New Mexico received 20 out of 89 possible points, tying for the 24th ranked spot in the nation, and ranked sixth in the Colorado River Basin region.

“With water shortages in the Colorado and Rio Grande River Basins that are likely to get worse because of climate change, New Mexico urgently needs further investments in water efficiency and conservation,” said Ron Burke, President and CEO of AWE. “New Mexico received less than 1/4th of the possible Scorecard points, and only Wyoming scored worse among the Colorado River Basin states.”

AWE found several gaps in how New Mexico supports local water agencies, businesses, and residents in managing water efficiently and sustainably.

The report includes three priority recommendations:

* Require plumbing fixtures sold in-state to meet WaterSense efficiency specifications

* Adopt policies to limit water loss in utility distribution systems

* Require water utilities to develop and implement drought preparedness plans

While some states improved since AWE’s previous Scorecard was released in 2017, the analysis found little progress overall, even as droughts and other climate change impacts increasingly undermine affordable, reliable water services. The average state score was only 23 out of 89 possible points.

“Water efficiency and conservation are typically the fastest and least expensive ways to save water while also lowering water bills, reducing energy use and greenhouse gas emissions, protecting rivers and lakes, and enhancing resilience to extreme weather events,” said Burke.

Effective state-level water conservation policies are even more important now that the U.S. Congress has authorized billions of dollars in loans and grants for water services as part of the Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act and the Inflation Reduction Act. Many of these funds will be administered by states and can only be maximized with good state policies in place.

California ranked first in the nation, with 72.5 points, followed by Texas with 54.5 points. The remaining top ten highest-ranked states, in order, are Arizona, Georgia, Washington, New York, Nevada, New Hampshire, Colorado, Minnesota.

Key findings include:

* Connecticut was the only state that reported using its own funds to support customer water bill assistance

* California is the only state that requires water utilities to plan for climate change

* 18 states use their own revenues to fund water efficiency and conservation

* 16 states provide funding for water reuse.

* 13 states require rate structures that encourage water efficiency

* 19 states require coordination between local land use and water planning agencies.

Despite the low scores, there were some bright spots, including ten states adopting point-of-sale plumbing efficiency requirements since 2017 that go beyond federal standards, for a current total of 15 states plus the District of Columbia.

To download the full report and access individual state scorecards, click here:

About the Alliance for Water Efficiency:

The Alliance for Water Efficiency (AWE) is a nonprofit organization with more than 500 organizational members dedicated to the efficient and sustainable use of water across North America. AWE provides training, research, and other resources for water efficiency professionals, and we encourage the public to conserve water through tools like our Home Water Works Calculator. In addition, AWE advocates for products, programs and policies that advance water efficiency.

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